Rio Olympics 2016: Kiwi kayak quartet finish fifth

New Zealand's Jaimee Lovett, Kayla Imrie, Aimee Fisher and Caitlin Ryan have finished fifth. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Jaimee Lovett, Kayla Imrie, Aimee Fisher and Caitlin Ryan have finished fifth. Photo / AP

For evidence of Lisa Carrington's impact on New Zealand sprint canoeing, you didn't need to look much further than the final of the women's K4 500m.

Among the starters overnight were Jaimee Lovett, Kayla Imrie, Aimee Fisher and Caitlin Ryan, having surprised more proven crews in the process.

They won their semifinal, suggesting a medal was a possibility, but finished fifth in a final won by the powerful crew from Hungary, which included Danuta Kozak who claimed her third gold at the regatta.

Carrington can take some of the credit for the New Zealand four's development over the past 12 months.

The 27-year-old's dominance of the past five years has boosted New Zealand junior numbers.

While the Kiwi quartet were already involved in surf lifesaving and canoeing before Carrington's emergence, they have been inspired by her deeds.

"She's cracked into the big time and has been one of the best female athletes in the world for a few years now," Lovett said. "To watch her here for the last couple of days, paddle the way she does and approach it the way she does is really inspiring. If we can follow that lead, we'll be pretty happy."

They couldn't live with the pace of the Hungarians in the final, with Germany second and Belarus third, and were 4.716 seconds behind the winners.

But the youthful Kiwis made a telling statement at the Olympics, and look like a combination with a promising future. Their semifinal time of 1m 34.778s was the second-fastest across both races and it won't have gone unnoticed. Earlier the Kiwis were sixth-fastest overall through the heats, finishing a comfortable third behind winners Belarus.

That race made history for New Zealand, which has never previously fielded a women's Olympic quartet.

After qualifying at last August's world championships, the foursome placed fifth and third at recent World Cup regattas.


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